Marple’s Letter, which analyzed the Pacific Northwest economy for generations of business leaders, has succumbed. The final issue was dated March 6. The newsletter’s passing, a few weeks shy of its 64th anniversary, was due to declining circulation.
Editor Jim Murez and Publisher Jon Anderson wrote that despite their best efforts, they were unable to arrest a persistent decline in subscriber numbers, and that as a result continued publication was “no longer viable.” Subscribers will be reimbursed for undelivered issues.
The letter was founded by the late Elliot Marple, Seattle-based freelance business writer and “stringer” (non-employee correspondent) for Business Week, Advertising Age, The Bond Buyer and many trade-specific publications. It was known over the years as Marple’s Business Roundup, Marple’s Business Newsletter, Marple’s Pacific Northwest Letter, and Marple’s Northwest Business Letter. It was published alternate Wednesdays.
Marple’s covered economic, business and industry trends in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. It tallied purchases and sales of stock by officers and directors of Pacific Northwest public companies. It regularly summarized earnings of Pacific Northwest banks. It also profiled public Pacific Northwest companies that might be of interest to investor-subscribers.
I am saddened by the newsletter’s demise. I began working for Mr. Marple in 1977, and was editor, publisher and owner of the letter from March 1980 through August 2009. The letter was a major part of my life’s work.
In this age of information available instantly at your fingertips, much of it free, subscription-based periodical publishing has never been more difficult. I salute the professionals who — despite long odds — generously invested their talent, time and capital to keep the letter going until now.
I take comfort in the fact that Marple’s Letter outlived countless periodicals, from similar regional newsletters to iconic national publications such as the print edition of Newsweek. Times change. The wisdom of Ecclesiastes — “There is a time for everything . . . ” — endures.
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